On 19 February 2020, the European Commission presented its long-awaited strategies for data and AI.  These follow Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s commitment upon taking office to put forward legislative proposals for a “coordinated European approach to the human and ethical implications of AI” within the new Commission’s first 100 days.  Although the papers published this week do not set out a comprehensive EU legal framework for AI, they do give a clear indication of the Commission’s key priorities and anticipated next steps.

The Commission strategies are set out in four separate papers—two on AI, and one each on Europe’s digital future and the data economy.  Read together, it is clear that the Commission seeks to position the EU as a digital leader, both in terms of trustworthy AI and the wider data economy.

Continue Reading AI Update: European Commission Presents Strategies for Data and AI (Part 1 of 4)

On February 4, 2020, the United Kingdom’s Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (“DEI”) published its final report on “online targeting” (the “Report”), examining practices used to monitor a person’s online behaviour and subsequently customize their experience. In October 2018, the UK government appointed the DEI, an expert committee that advises the UK government on how to maximize the benefits of new technologies, to explore how data is used in shaping peoples’ online experiences. The Report sets out its findings and recommendations.
Continue Reading Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation publishes final report on “online targeting”

On December 3, 2019, the EU’s new Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, suggested a change of approach to the proposed e-Privacy Regulation may be necessary.  At a meeting of the Telecoms Council, Breton indicated that the Commission would likely develop a new proposal, following the Council’s rejection of a compromise text on November 27.

The proposed Regulation is intended as a replacement to the existing e-Privacy Directive, which sets out specific rules for traditional telecoms companies, in particular requiring that they keep communications data confidential and free from interference (e.g., preventing wiretapping).  It also sets out rules that apply regardless of whether a company provides telecoms services, including restrictions on unsolicited direct marketing and on accessing or storing information on users’ devices (e.g., through the use of cookies and other tracking technologies).

Continue Reading New E-Privacy Proposal on the Horizon?

Earlier this month, Covington’s Brussels, Frankfurt and London offices hosted a webinar on EU regulatory developments impacting connected and automated vehicles (CAVs). The seminar attracted participants from across the globe, predominantly from tech and automotive industries. This post features an overview of the introduction, and sections on data access and competition, data protection and cybersecurity. Part 2 will focus on other important CAV areas in the EU.
Continue Reading AI/IoT Update: Connected and Automated Vehicles Webinar Series: EU Key Developments PART 1

On August 27, 2019, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) published a Request for Comments on Patenting Artificial Intelligence Inventions in the Federal Register. The Request follows Director Iancu’s statement that America’s national security and economic prosperity depend on the United States’ ability to maintain a leadership role in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies, as explained in another post on an artificial intelligence conference held by the USPTO earlier this year.

Recent Rapid Advances in AI Technologies

The recent confluence of big data, increasingly faster and more specialized hardware, improved algorithms, and increased investment has led to rapid advancement in AI technologies and applications such as computer vision, natural language processing, medical diagnostics, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and drug development, among others. And while the Request does not define the term “artificial intelligence,” the USPTO does provide a class definition for the examination of AI inventions and patent applications, and Class 706 identifies several technologies encompassed by AI technology.

Continue Reading AI Update: USPTO Publishes Request for Comments on Patenting Artificial Intelligence Inventions

On July 25, 2019, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) published a blog on the trade-offs between different data protection principles when using Artificial Intelligence (“AI”).  The ICO recognizes that AI systems must comply with several data protection principles and requirements, which at times may pull organizations in different directions.  The blog identifies notable trade-offs that may arise, provides some practical tips for resolving these trade-offs, and offers worked examples on visualizing and mathematically minimizing trade-offs.

The ICO invites organizations with experience of considering these complex issues to provide their views.  This recent blog post on trade-offs is part of its on-going Call for Input on developing a new framework for auditing AI.  See also our earlier blog on the ICO’s call for input on bias and discrimination in AI systems here.

Continue Reading ICO publishes blog post on AI and trade-offs between data protection principles

On July 29, 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) handed down its judgment in the Fashion ID case (Case C-40/17).   The CJEU found that when a website operator embeds Facebook’s “Like” button on its website, Facebook and the website operator become joint controllers. The case clarifies the relationship between website operators and social networking sites whose plug-ins are embedded into websites for user tracking and online marketing purposes.  The ruling is expected to influence the contractual terms that companies will need to have in place when embedding such social plug-ins to their websites, and may also have ramifications for adtech practices more generally.

Continue Reading CJEU rules that Facebook and website operators are joint controllers if the website embeds Facebook’s “Like” button

On July 16, 2019, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) released a new draft Data sharing code of practice (“draft Code”), which provides practical guidance for organizations on how to share personal data in a manner that complies with data protection laws.  The draft Code focuses on the sharing of personal data between controllers, with a section referring to other ICO guidance on engaging processors.  The draft Code reiterates a number of legal requirements from the GDPR and DPA, while also including good practice recommendations to encourage compliance. The draft Code is currently open for public consultation until September 9, 2019, and once finalized, it will replace the existing Data sharing code of practice (“existing Code”).

Continue Reading ICO Launches Public Consultation on New Data Sharing Code of Practice

On July 10, 2019, the White House Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) published a Request for Information (“RFI”) in the Federal Register, requesting comments on how to improve Federal data sets and models for artificial intelligence (“AI”) research and development (“R&D”) and testing.  The RFI is a part of the White House’s AI Initiative, as kicked off by the Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence.
Continue Reading AI Update: White House Announces RFI on Improving AI R&D Data and Models

On June 10, 2019, the UK Government’s Digital Service and the Office for Artificial Intelligence released guidance on using artificial intelligence in the public sector (the “Guidance”).  The Guidance aims to provide practical guidance for public sector organizations when they implement artificial intelligence (AI) solutions.

The Guidance will be of interest to companies that provide AI solutions to UK public sector organizations, as it will influence what kinds of AI projects public sector organizations will be interested in pursuing, and the processes that they will go through to implement AI systems.  Because the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is a public sector organization, this Guidance is also likely to be relevant to digital health service providers that are seeking to provide AI technologies to NHS organizations.

The Guidance consists of three sections: (1) understanding AI; (2) assessing, planning and managing AI; (3) using AI ethically and safely, as summarized below. The guidance also has links to summaries of examples where AI systems have been used in the public sector and elsewhere.

Continue Reading UK Government’s Guide to Using AI in the Public Sector